Bill Cosby to continue standup shows in Canada, report says

Despite a flurry of recent rape accusations, embattled comedian Bill Cosby has decided that the shows must go on.

The 77-year-old comedian is scheduled to perform three standup shows in Ontario, Canada, next week, according to the company that is managing the events, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Friday.

Innovation Arts & Entertainment told the CBC that it can't legally cancel the shows without consent from Cosby. IAE entered into the agreement in March 2014 to organize and promote the appearances, months before nearly 20 women accused the comedian of drugging and raping them in a period stretching over several decades.

Cosby is scheduled to perform at Centre in the Square in Kitchener on Jan. 7, Budweiser Gardens in London on Jan. 8 and Hamilton Place in Hamilton on Jan.9, the CBC reported.

A representative for the company told the CBC that Cosby's representatives said Friday morning that the comedian "has every intent to perform these events."

Cosby found himself at the center of a firestorm last fall when nearly two dozen women alleged sexual misconduct against him, with several women accusing him of drugging and raping them. Some of the accusations date as far back as the 1970s, and Cosby settled a lawsuit over a sexual assault claim in 2006.

But two civil lawsuits -- one claiming molestation, another defamation -- were filed against him last month, and as long as they're pending, they will remain a red flag for media and other attention.

The fury over the allegations has led so far to the cancellation of Cosby's scheduled Netflix concert special, and NBC scrapped development on a new sitcom with him.

Cosby, however, has never been charged with a crime, and his lawyers have denied many of the allegations.

Last week, the New York Post reported that Cosby has hired a "battalion" of private investigators to dig up dirt on his accusers, paying six-figure fees for information that might discredit his alleged victims.

Amid the controversy, Cosby's last concert, on Nov. 21 in Melbourne, Florida, showed how powerful the mix of star power and fan ardor can be. Ignoring a sea of negative headlines and accusations outside, the adoring audience inside laughed heartily at Cosby's routine and gave him two standing ovations. Only a lone protester stood outside the concert.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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